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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge: What's Going On?

The hubby and I recently had a chance for a night out to take in a show. There was no question where we would dine before the show: Tacoma's Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge on St. Helens in the historic Walker Building. We love Maxwell's--the vibe felt very 50's and 60's (with lounge tunes and standards from that era playing in the background). Groovy chandeliers, golds, blacks, stripes, intimate candlelight, and great, smoky lighting. The bartender makes a killer martini and the servers are helpful and delightful. And the food--hearty, flavorful, succulent. Bring on the fish dishes, the sides of mashed potatoes, and just right veggies, all with an elegant presentation.

So, I called to make a reservation (it was a Friday night after all). They informed me that they don't take reservations anymore due to the "new laid back vibe." Hmm... Okay. I wasn't sure what a "laid back vibe" meant. But no matter. I was oogling over their menu on their website. Yum! The day of our meal, I hadn't had much to eat. I was hungry and ready to go.

However, we were surprised to be greeted by changes in the seating environment/furnishings. More "lounge-y." The Sinatra classics weren't playing but hipster, electronica, youngish, current, bar kind of music. We were shown to our table and got the "menu" but we thought there was a mistake. The menu looked like just appetizers.

Alas, no mistake.

They have a couple of small entrees still, a couple of salads, and mainly appetizers (small plates). The concept is to nosh on the small plates, share with your fellow dinners, and drink (and probably drink, drink, and more drinking). Hmmm.. sounds like "20 something" age demographics to me.

I didn't let that deter me though. I got the signature martini (perfection) and enjoyed a small salad, some pita with various toppings, and delicious prawns. It was all very good. And very INEXPENSIVE (we came during happy hour and got the pita bread for $1.00).

Yet, after those options, I was still, well, hungry. I ordered the cheese plate. My husband said he was FULL and said I could have the cheeses. He proceeded to eat over half of it. I am not a dessert person, so I had another drink. Still a little hungry though.

Okay, so the food was great. The service was great. The cost savings was huge. All pluses in my book. For them, I hope that they get the concept to work for them. For me, not so sure. Before, I saw patrons of ALL ages. Will folks get "bored" with the limited menu? I wonder what will happen going forward?

Readers/Bloggers: Have some of your favorite home town restaurants or eateries changed? If so how? Does it work for you? Why do you think this is happening?

P.S. Maxwell's website is NOT updated to date with the new menu.


Stephanie Frieze said...

This sounds cool, Kim. If we ever feel solvent enough to go out, Dave & I will definitely try this place out!

Anonymous said...

I just ate there last weekend and I agree with the reviewer. The menu items were small and I didn't dig the music. I ended up leaving hungry and disappointed

Kim Thompson said...

Thanks for the comments, particularly comment #2. This is the EXACT thing that I worry about for this business!